The passage through Parliament of the Arms Legislation Bill yesterday is a ‘terrible injustice’ imposed upon the licenced firearm owning community to cover Police mistakes says Michael Dowling Chairman, Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO).
“Despite the evidence, despite the Royal Commission having not even reported back yet, and despite the mounting evidence that a key factor which led to the terrible events in Christchurch was the Police’s mistakes in not following the old law (or their own policies on vetting) Parliament passed the third and final reading of the Arms Legislation Bill 63 votes to 50,” he said.
Labour, the Green Party and New Zealand First supported the Bill through the last step to become law.
COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee says the law punished firearm owners by changing licence rules that had worked perfectly well until Police switched resources and methods a few years ago.
“The licence rules worked, but it appears that Police didn’t apply them correctly to the Christchurch shooter. The new rules will only be as good as the people applying them
“Parliament should be embarrassed to have passed a law before anyone – including a Royal Commission – has worked out what the problem was.
A Royal Commission is currently examining the details of the March 15 Christchurch shooting by an Australian who wrongly was granted a firearm licence by police.
“Rather than wait for information on what led to a tragic event and make recommendations, the Government and Police have lashed out at a group of people they had repeatedly certified as trustworthy and of good character.”
The new law does not have a single clause that will make people safer than they were before the Christchurch shooting. So COLFO intended to work with Police to make their implementation more effective.
“Our opposition to this bill activated thousands of ordinary New Zealanders up and down the country and spurred them into action. This issue will dominate their vote in the coming general election,” she said.
© Michael Dowling – “Parliament should be embarrassed”